Welcome Home Enzo!

Well, she did it. Again. Jessica and I always make it a point to praise the girls for their toughness when they fall or somehow hurt themselves. Well by that rational I think its fair to say that Jessica deserves the utmost respect for the incredible toughness and dedication she displayed today. I can’t really put into words how proud I am of her, or how much I appreciate all the sacrifices she continues to make for our family, but that certainly won’t stop me from trying. For the third time, Jessica has brought a child into this world, and for the second time in a row, she did it completely naturally without any drugs or pain killers. Of the five years we have been married, she has spent about four of them pregnant, meaning she has dedicated not only her whole life to our family, but her body as well. To say I’m thankful for this would be an insulting understatement, but I suppose its a start.

Before I get into the details of how our day went, I’m going to backtrack a few days to tell a funny story about Jessica’s baby shower, which was held by our next-door neighbor Cara on Saturday afternoon. Since Jessica and Amy were going to be there for several hours, I decided to take the girls out for a day of fun. We started off at the park, then we went to Alderwood Mall to play, shop, and walk around. After leaving the mall we went to lunch at Taco Time, and I specifically made sure to eat at the restaurant because I knew the girls would make a mess, and I also knew that some of the ladies at the baby shower would be coming over to our house afterwards and I didn’t want the house to be a mess.

After finishing lunch the girls and I headed home, and I’ve got to admit I was feeling proud of myself. I had just taken them on a 3 hour adventure and things went so smoothly. They weren’t even dirty so I didn’t have to rush them into the bathtub when we got home. Since no one else was home when we returned, I decided to put on an episode of Thomas the Train for the girls to watch so that I could spend 5-10 minutes finishing the chapter in my new book. As the old saying goes, ‘Silence is golden’, but whomever came up with that statement must not have had young kids, because little did I know that while I sat on the couch reading my book and thinking that the girls were quietly playing behind me, they were actually making an enormous mess.

A few minutes later Jessica walks in the door with several family members and friends, and immediately yells out my name with a panicked look on her face. I say “what?” and turn around to see that in the five minutes we’d been sitting there, Ava and Elise had dumped almost all the dirt out of a potted holiday plant we’d received as a gift all throughout the kitchen. It was everywhere! All over the dining table, the window sills, the chairs, the floor, etc. They were having a grand old time playing with all this dirt, and I was completely oblivious to it, even though I was only sitting 10 feet away. An of course I had to discover it right as a dozen women come walking in. It was such a classic Dad moment that I will probably never hear the end of. Apparently Jessica had just made a disclaimer saying that although the house was clean when she left for the shower, she couldn’t guarantee anything since the girls and I were home alone. Everyone got a huge kick out of it, but I was obviously pretty embarrassed. Oh well, it made for a funny story that will probably live on forever.

Now onto more important things. I’m going to try to recount everything that went on today with an appropriate level of detail. Jessica and I went to bed last night a little after 10:00, and although we both fell asleep quickly, she ended up waking up around 11:30 due to contractions. She didn’t know it at the time, but this was the beginning of her 19 hour labor with Enzo Michael Pellegrini. She had semi-regular contractions for the next few hours, meaning she got very little sleep. I woke up at 3:30am and realized what was going on, so pretty soon I started timing her contractions. They were coming about every 10 minutes so our hopes were high that this would be the day.

Around 6:00am we went downstairs for coffee and breakfast, then a little later we decided to go for a walk. This had become a tradition for us when she is in labor so it seemed like the right thing to do. At this point Dana was on her way over to our house to watch the girls, but they (and Amy) were still asleep. What was supposed to be a short walk turned into a very long one (about 3 miles) but Jessica was feeling good and the movement made her contractions easier to deal with. By the time we returned home from our walk an hour later, Dana was waiting for us in the living room while playing with Elise.

At this point the contractions started slowing down and soon Jessica was feeling pretty bummed out. It was looking like another false alarm, and she wanted nothing more than to have this baby and be done with it. Luckily she had a regularly scheduled appointment this morning at 11:00, so even though things were starting to look a little grim, we decided to follow through with the appointment and see what the midwife had to say. Amy and Dana stayed home with the girls while I drove Jessica to her appointment. On the way there her contractions started getting more regular, so there was hope for us once again.

The birth center was very busy when we arrived, so we had to wait a bit before she could be seen. Once they checked her out they gave us the good news we were hoping to hear, which was that she was definitely in labor and today was our day. They also offered to break her water for her in order to speed things up, so Jessica gladly accepted. After that they told us to go get a bite to eat, and go for another walk. We followed their orders, but it didn’t take long after the water was broken for things to start speeding up quickly. By the time we finished lunch and walked down the block she was having contractions every 2-3 minutes, and they were getting more and more intense with each one.

At this point we called Amy and said you better get down here, so Dana was kind enough to load everyone up in the van and give her a ride. We didn’t want the girls to see Mommy in labor, so after dropping Amy off, Dana returned home with Ava and Elise for a fun day at home. Basically Jessica had labored for 12 hours before they broke her water, and then the real fun began. I’m just glad that Amy was able to be there all day with us because she was such a big help.

As many of you already know, this pregnancy has been pretty tough on Jessica, and unfortunately labor was no exception. Based on her experience with Elise, we thought we’d be delivering within about 3 hours, but that wasn’t the case. After breaking her water at 11:30am, Jessica went on a painful crusade that lasted another 7 hours before Enzo finally decided to make his appearance. Again, her toughness was remarkable. She later said that when you reach your mental breaking point its so difficult to keep going on, but she powered through it like a champ. The woman in the room next to us was screaming at the top of her lungs all day, and I’m certainly not judging her for this because I can only imagine what it feels like, but the difference between her and Jessica was like night and day. Even the midwives couldn’t believe how tough and strong she was. She doesn’t yell or scream at all; she has this incredible ability to internalize her pain and deal with it in ways that most people would be jealous of.

Long story short, Jessica powered through so many contractions before giving birth to our son Enzo at 6:19pm. Unlike her delivery with Elise, which was in water, Enzo was born in bed with Jessica on her side, with me helping the midwife by holding one of Jessica’s legs up while she commanded Jessica on when and how to push. Obviously this was a very emotional experience for all of us, but all I can say is that seeing your child come into the world is an experience that you’re extremely lucky to have, and one that you will never forget. I’ve been fortunate enough to experience this 3 times now, and for that I will always be grateful. He ended up measuring in at 20″ in length and weighing exactly 8 pounds.

Although giving birth naturally is incredibly painful, the flip side to that coin is that she was back to normal almost immediately after giving birth. Watching her transform back into her normal self in such a short amount of time was truly amazing. At that point there are so many endorphins kicking in and so much adrenaline pumping through her veins that she actually seemed quite chipper and unaffected by what had just occurred. I could tell she was relieved to have it over with, and although I was having a hard time containing my own emotions, the fact that our family was now complete and such a major chapter in our lives was coming to a close was certainly not lost on me.

Luckily for us everything with Enzo was perfect, as it was for Jessica, so we only had to stay at the birth center for two hours after he was born, which is the legal requirement. Most of that time was spent making phone calls and sending text messages to our loved ones. We were all pretty hungry so Amy and I ran across the street to a Mexican restaurant to get some takeout. I had a bit of a scare while I was sitting there waiting for our food because I overheard the hostess saying that there was an ambulance outside taking someone from the birth center. I looked up and saw what she was talking about, then just about had a heart attack as I sprinted out the door and across the street to see what was going on. When I arrived they explained that nothing was wrong with Jessica or Enzo, and that the ambulance was there for the woman and child from the room next to us. Unfortunately things hadn’t gone as smoothly for them as it had for us and they needed some extra medical attention. Obviously I wasn’t happy to hear this, but at the same time I couldn’t help but feel a major sense of relief.

I want to send out a HUGE thank you to my amazing sister Dana for all her help today. She took the day off work to care for Ava and Elise throughout this whole experience and we are so grateful. You’ll never know how much we appreciate it. I also need to give my deepest thanks to Amy for everything she continues to do for us. This is a major transition for us and I seriously don’t know if we could do it all without her. In both of their cases I know that they are very happy to be able to do everything, but that doesn’t change how much it means to Jessica and I. We’re so lucky to have such an incredible family and support system.

I’ll never forget Ava’s reaction when we arrived home with Elise a year-and-a-half ago, and the same can be said for Ava and Elise’s reactions tonight when we got home with Enzo. The look on their faces was priceless. Elise just couldn’t get over the fact that there was a baby in our house, and both of them instantly gravitated to him. There is no question that both of the girls are going to have to adjust to having a baby in the house, but I know we’ll all be able to make that adjustment in no time. Jessica said multiple times this evening that even though this was a tough pregnancy and a tough labor, it was all more than worth it in the end. Seeing all three of our kids together in the same room at the same time was really special to me, and I couldn’t help but say to myself several times over “I have three children.” Even though you have all this time to prepare for it, there is something to be said for seeing them all together in the flesh for the first time.

As one would expect, Jessica was beyond exhausted by the time we got home, so as I write this, she and Enzo are fast asleep beside me. These next few days are going to be full of adjustments for everyone in our house, which again is why having Amy here is such a big help. It dawned on me this afternoon that this would probably be the last time I’m ever in a birthing room. I wouldn’t expect either of my daughters to want me in the room when they are giving birth, which I completely understand, so it was important to me that I really soak it all up and not take anything for granted. Having a child makes for a special day that you will never forget. These are the great days of your life, and its what you live for, so I couldn’t be more thankful to have been able to experience this three times over. Our family is complete now, and tomorrow we move onto the first page of another new and exciting chapter. Not only do I have three children that I love more than life itself, but I have the best wife in the world who is not only my spouse, but also my best friend, confidant, and motivator. I don’t know what more I could ask for, but I will always be thankful.

Laboring in the tub a couple hours before Enzo's birth
Laboring in the tub a couple hours before Enzo’s birth

Holding my son for the first time
Holding my son for the first time

Grandma Amy holding Enzo for the first time
Grandma Amy holding Enzo for the first time

Enzo getting weighed
Enzo getting weighed

Ready to go home
Ready to go home

Meeting his sisters for the first time
Meeting his sisters for the first time

Elise giving Enzo a kiss
Elise giving Enzo a kiss

He’s almost here…

I’m actually surprised that little Enzo hasn’t arrived yet. Although Jessica’s official due date isn’t until Sunday February 1st, we’ve been prepared for him to come early due to his size and positioning. Last night at 7:20 Jessica started having contractions 12 minutes apart and we thought this was it. Pretty soon the contractions sped up to 9 minutes apart, so we decided to wait until 10:30 before we started notifying people. The contractions stayed consistent until about 9:45, but then they started slowing down, and by the time the clock struck 10:30 she was no longer having any contractions.

We were all a little bummed because we’re so ready to meet this little guy, but there’s nothing you can do but be patient. It would have been cool if he was born today because today is my parent’s anniversary, but that also would have meant that Jessica would have had to miss her baby shower, which our next-door neighbor Cara is throwing today at noon. I guess it would have made for a funny story if Enzo was born on the day of the baby shower, but Jessica would have felt bad because Cara has done so much work to set everything up.

Even before we knew her due date, Jessica has been saying throughout this pregnancy that she expects the baby to be born during the Superbowl, therefore it didn’t come as much of a surprise when we found out that the official due date is Superbowl Sunday. To make things even more interesting, the Seahawks are making their second consecutive trip to the Superbowl after making the most incredible comeback against the Green Bay Packers in the final 5 minutes of the NFC Championship Game. I’ve never seen anything like it and couldn’t believe we won.

The funny part about that whole experience was that we were in the car listening to the game on the radio when they won. The girls stayed the night with Kristy and Madi the night before so that we could attend the Amazon ‘Post Holiday Party’, and since Amy was flying into town on Sunday at 3:00, we just decided to hang out at Kristy’s house to watch the game. The game wasn’t going well at all and we all thought our season was over, but in the final 5 minutes of the game things took an incredible turn for the Hawks. As we were getting ready to leave for the airport, the Seahawks scored a touchdown, then recovered an onside kick. I couldn’t believe what was happening, or that we were leaving, but listening to the local radio broadcast in the van was actually pretty fun because unlike the national TV broadcast, these broadcasters are unabashedly pulling for the Hawks. Jessica and I were going crazy on every play while the girls were fast asleep in the back seat.

Right after picking Amy up we won the overtime coin toss, and only a few minutes later we won the game with a touchdown. People on the freeway were honking horns (myself included) and holding Seahawks gear out their windows. It was pretty amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten so excited while driving, but it was pretty memorable. To be safe, I recorded the game at home, so as soon as we got back I turned it on right where we left off at Kristy’s and watched the rest, even though I already knew what was going to happen.

I should also mention that we had a great time the day of the Amazon holiday party. We made a full day of it after dropping the girls off with Kristy and Madi. First we went to the Olive Garden for soup, salad, and breadsticks, then we went to the movies and saw ‘American Sniper’ before heading to the party. The highlight of the party was seeing Weezer, whom I’ve been a fan of for 20 years but had never seen live until then. We don’t get time away like this all that often so we made the most of it and had a great time.

Although I’m fully expecting Enzo to be born on Superbowl Sunday, I’m still holding out a little hope that he will arrive before then. Only time will tell, but for Jessica’s sake I hope its sooner than later.

Elise turns 18 months!

Today our sweet little Elise is officially a year-and-a-half old! Time has definitely flown by, but I can’t help but think about the fact that by the time Enzo arrives, Elise will be approximately 6 weeks younger than Ava was when Elise was born. I’m sure no one is more acutely aware of that than Jessica, but I still think about it too. Speaking of Enzo, as of this week Jessica is considered ‘full-term’ in her pregnancy, so he could arrive at any time and there would be nothing to worry about. The sooner the better as far as we’re concerned. Jessica had another checkup today and everything looks perfect, so we couldn’t be happier.

We’ve got an exciting weekend to look forward to. Saturday night is the annual Amazon ‘Post-Holiday Party’ at the Century Link Events Center. Last year we had a lot of fun so I’m sure this year will be the same. We’ve actually got some good music this year, thanks to the fact that Weezer will be performing. I wasn’t sure if Jessica would want to go considering the baby, but she was all for it, so we’re going. The girls are going to be spending the night with Kristy and Madi at their house, which we are extremely thankful for. Kristy says Madi is really excited about having them over, so it works out perfect.

The party doesn’t start until 8:00pm, but I think we’re going to drop the girls off around 3:00, then enjoy having some time to ourselves. The plan is to get a bite to eat, then go see a movie, then go to the party. If there is one thing we’ve learned since becoming parents its that you need to take advantage and make the most of any free time you get. Assuming Enzo doesn’t arrive that night it should be a lot of fun. I guess either way we’d be in for an exciting night.

Grandma Amy is coming back to town on Sunday afternoon, and we already have to go to the south end to pickup the girls at Kristy’s house, so we’re going to hang out there for a while and watch the Seahawks in the NFC Championship game. One more win and we’re going back to the Superbowl! Can’t wait for that. As the game is ending we will head over to SeaTac Airport to pickup Amy, then we can all head home for the evening. It’s hard to believe that we’re so close to the birth of our son, but certainly very exciting. I can’t wait to take Jessica out for a sushi dinner right after he is born. She’s been craving it lately so I’d say it is well deserved.

The girls have been doing really well lately, although bedtime has turned into a nightmare (pardon the pun). Only a couple months ago bedtime was no big deal, but things have taken a drastic turn for the worse. I don’t know exactly what to attribute it to, but its like they take on a different personality when its time to go to bed. Elise, who is normally so happy and sweet, turns into a little demon around 8:00 every night. She suddenly has all this energy and wants to run around like a crazy child. Ava generally just wants to stay up and watch one more episode of Thomas the Train, but unless she falls asleep in the middle of an episode (which is rare), she always gets upset when we turn it off. More often than not we end up having to lay down with them and stay there until they fall asleep. It’s not uncommon these days for bedtime to last 2 hours! Sometimes it takes all I’ve got just to stay up longer than they do. I’m sure its just a phase that they will outgrow, but with another baby getting ready to enter our house, it doesn’t look like anyone is going to be getting extensive amounts of rest anytime soon. The joys of parenting…

Other than bedtime things are great. Ava loves going to school on Mondays, and art class on Tuesdays. Jessica continues to keep them busy with regular outings to museums, parks, etc. Elise is talking up a storm. I remember thinking that Ava spoke a lot at that age but I honestly think Elise talks even more than Ava did. She is getting really good at communicating what she wants, which helps in terms of not getting as frustrated. The other cool thing is that the two of them play a lot more together now. Up until recently Elise was still too young to be able to play with Ava, but now they are much more able to entertain each other, which is a lot of fun to watch.

Jessica and I have been keeping busy at home this week with painting the guest bedroom. I think we’re doing the last of it tonight, so it will be good to have that done before Amy arrives. Next up we’re going to paint our master bedroom. This will be a bigger task, so it’s good that we got some practice on the guest room first. We’ve got several house-related projects planned for this spring, including new floors and painting downstairs. One realization I’ve come to since becoming a home owner is that there is always something to work on. I don’t mean that in the sense of something that always has to be fixed (although that is sometimes the case) but there is always something that you want to upgrade. I don’t mind it though because every time you do something it makes the house that much more personalized, plus its nice that you don’t have to ask permission from anyone to do what you want.

Not sure if there will be another post before Enzo arrives, but I’m sure there will be plenty once he is here. Here are a few recent photos of the girls. Won’t be a family of four much longer…